Huawei continues to wow the consumers with every smartphone release. Just after the success of the P9, comes another Huawei smartphone to set to raise the bar on smartphone competition even higher, the Mate 9. The Mate 9 isn’t just about its second-generation Leica lens, there’s a lot more to it. Check out the initial impressions here – Huawei Mate 9 and GR5 (2017) Preview.
The black box has a premium feel similar to what the P9 came with except that it’s… black. Huawei made sure that the box and its contents were elegantly presented. The black boxes with symbols embedded with gold ink and the contents are neatly arranged. The package came with the USB Type-C cable and a Type-C cable adapter, a charger that promises 60% in 30 mins with its SuperCharge feature, a headseat, a bumper case, a SIM ejector pin, the Mate 9 unit, and some documents that are rarely given attention.
I like the P9’s design more but Mate 9 looks and feels more premium. Mate 9 is slightly shorter than than the iPhone 7 Plus but has more but screen size is larger by 0.4 inch (5.9″ vs. 5.5″).
The Mate 9 at the bottom and the iPhone 6S Plus on top. The Mate 9’s speakers had overcome it’s predecessors weakness. It’s stereo speakers were loud, clear and distortion free. Mate 8 would be truly proud of how Mate 9’s speakers perform.
The volume rocker and the power button is on the right side, and dual SIM tray/micro SD car tray is on the left to be accesses using the pin. The Mate 9 hasn’t ditched the 3.5mm headphone jack yet, and I doubt that they will, but the FM radio has been missing since the P9. I hate them for it. I know that there are a lot of music streaming services available, but nothing beats live DJ. I missed listening to The Morning Rush on my way to work and Boys Night Out on my way back ever since I had the Mate 9 with me.
Huawei Mate 9’s powerful combination of Kirin 960 chipset: Octa-core CPU (4xCortex-A73@2.4GHz + 4xCortex-A53@1.8GHz), i6 co-processor, octa-core Mali-G71 GPU and 4GB of RAM is complemented with EMUI 5.0’s machine learning capability will keep your Mate 9 as fast it was the first time you used it. It studies your usage pattern, the apps you open when you wake up or when you’re on lunch, or before you go to bed. It studies your habit and pre-loads your needed app so that it’s there instantly when you need it.
EMUI also eliminates extra steps in the flow of opening an app or setting up the phone to max of 3 steps for a better user experience. I like the EMUI 5.0 among all android phones, it’s simple, clean, and packs a lot of features.
The fingerprint sensor at the back has a 0.4s unlock time. If you like to hide secrets you can also set up a Private space that you can access with a different fingerprint. The data stored there is inaccessible to others and is independently encrypted. Aside from a Private space where you can store your secrets, you can also side load two apps (like Facebook, WhatsUp, WeChat) and log in with your different accounts. Mate 9 is a two-timer’s dream phone.
It’s 4000 mAh battery life lasts even after office hours. That’s listening to music while on data on commute, playing online games. WiFi at the office, phone calls, games and social media. On the way home, I catch up on my Netflix shows via OTG, while getting updates on social media.
What I am most excited about Mate 9 is the camera. Personally, the camera holds 60% of my criteria in buying a phone because the rest are all the same to me. They may have close to the same processor, RAM, or screen, but camera is what sets them apart.
I love documenting my daily commute to work, the people I meet I long the way, the interesting architecture in the city, and many others. The Huawei Mate 9 is a great everyday, walk-around camera.
The dual camera gives a bokeh that looks natural, not enhanced.
Night photography is fun with it’s light painting features. I would want to tryout the Star Track feature to get a shot of the stars and the milky way if possible but I still have to make time for it.
Monochrome photos are the best.
The camera is the best I’ve used so far. During my time with the Mate 9 I was confident leaving my trusted Fuji X-M1 behind to cover events. It gets the job done, I get the shots that I needed without the extra weight. I only had to bring a camera during special events or special photo shoots. I only wish that it had a little bit more contrast.
Check out more of my Huawei Mate 9 shots on Instragram account – @ryansanjuan
What I don’t like about the Mate 9:
- I can’t afford it – P31,990.
What I love about the Mate9
- 2nd generation Leica lenses
- premium build
- EMUI 5.0
- fast performance
- battery life (fast charging too)
- great audio
What I wish the Mate 9 has but can live without:
- water/dust resistance (or waterproof)
- FM radio
All I can say is that my love for Huawei was justified with the Mate 9. If the Beauty and the Beast had a phone, this is it. It’s beauty and the beast at the same time. It will go the distance and take you to a whole new world while other brands would just wish that their part of that world. I can’t wait to see what the P10/P10 Plus will bring to the table. With P10 Plus Leica front cam, I just can’t wait to be King (of selfies).